karen houppert. she is our guest on "after words" and interviewed by jenna green of the international law journal. >> host: it is a pleasure to meet you. i really enjoyed your book, "chasing gideon." i thought that we could start at the beginning. who was the somewhat unlikely figure who made such an impact on history clarence earl gideon was an itinerary cap. >> guest: he broke into a pool hall and accused of stealing some change from the jukebox, a couple of beers come a couple of bottles of wine and arrested and brought to court there in
florida. he approached the judge on the day of the trial and said that i am not ready to go to trial. and he said that i am looking for an attorney and he said that i am entitled to an attorney, the constitution guarantees my right to an attorney and the judge said, no, it does not. you have to try yourself. and the judge coaxed him through the trial. very kindly. but he lost and he was a fairly complicated law, going to court is very complicated and selecting a jury is complicated and he kind of bumbled along and lost his case and was sent to prison. from prison he can grow in pencil a sort of semi literate letter to the u.s. supreme court
and he said that i would like an attorney if i am violet and shannon supposedly committed a crime in this country. the supreme court had been waiting for a case like this to come along. they had accepted his case and in some ways it was interesting. so then he had this very high-powered dc lawyer at the time. and that was really to gideon's benefit. they were really interested in this case and they were going to help gideon out in some ways by giving him this very powerful attorney. >> host: i thought it was ironic that it was almost the first and last time that the defendant
really had any advantage over the state of florida. in the book, the lawyer that is representing the state of florida was very young, inexperienced, had never argued a case before the supreme court and was not even working at the state attorney general's office were the latter part of. for that case. >> he was really, you know, flying by the seat of his pants. so he made his arguments and they didn't even think to shut down his questions and he was extremely flustered. you know, he has been very forthright and frank about that in the years since.
and we are going to have to find a way to absorb this cost. they basically gave this mandate, but they did not fund it. but they did not say how states would go about feminists. and what that meant was that every state in the country now sort of has a different mismatched set up system. you may have a very good public defender if you are in the city of new york. but if you drive two hours north, you may have a lousy system and have a far greater chance of being convicted of a crime. so it has never worked out very well. >> host: i was struck that you
quoted this oral argument, it was very different now than when he decided. now there are about 2.3 million people. so what is happening? what is happening in these last 50 years? >> what has happened as there has been a flood of arrests and clients coming through the system thanks to the war on drugs, which had sent lots of people to the courts.
due to those changes and while we were arresting people for and how we are holding them, it has created this flood of people in the numbers of people needing public defenders has just skyrocketed. >> host: he wrote that there are all kinds of problems with the patchwork system of defense in the united states. but by far the most critical caseload of this took place pretty really dig into this by telling the story of two cases.
so what happened to the case involving the 18-year-old first. >> guest: this little individual had just turned 18 and you just got his first car. he was actually on the way to cash his paycheck. an elderly gentleman pulled in front of sean and he hit the car. about nine days later he died. he had a public defender in spokane, washington who really went to bat. so she was carrying about 101
cases compared to the prosecutor was working opposite her who had 36 cases. so she was really pushed to take this case to trial before she was ready. she had done several trials in the last two months and said that i need a little bit more time. the judge says that should go ahead. you know, this was like a friday. she had to go to court on monday. she decided to refuse and take a stand and say that that would be an assistance of counsel. i'm not prepared for a trial. due to the crunch of money in their office and limited ability to call in this, she was like, i need more time. the judge threatened to hold her in contempt of court. ultimately she was given a few more weeks to prepare for the
trial. the elderly man at have been hospitalized and operated on for a hernia, which is a pre-existing condition. his own doctor had known about this for a long time and declined to operate because he was afraid to operate because he thought he would get an infection and die. so ultimately, he was on very innocent by the jury. the two years were spent with the fear that he was going to go to jail. here this skinny little kid is trying to lift weights. you know, prepare for the prison life and even now he can't can
have a drivers license and it has been many years down the road. so it really had an impact on his life. but he was found innocent because his public defender took a stand. in my book "chasing gideon" in that same area in washington state, a public defender made a different choice about his client. this is about a 12-year-old boy, accused of sexually molesting a 5-year-old. the 12-year-old denied it. the 12-year-old would not meet
his eyes and he cried. therefore who doesn't cry, right? when you are stopped by the cops for speeding. i mean, i would almost cried. so his case, he got a public defender that had 460 other cases at the same time. and the public defender did not call any witnesses. they didn't hire an investigator. they didn't file any motions except advised the kid to plead guilty he just said plead guilty, the parents were like, well, it's going to be labeled as a six -- sex offender for thf
his life. but it didn't. it stayed on his record for his life. so the kid is rushed into court, he pleads guilty and then the parents found out that he would be required to have someone shot of him in school every day. he would be tested for hiv or other diseases and that he would be required to go to counseling therapy groups where he had to confess his guilt regularly. so i really kind of a show that kind of public defense that you can get. one of the differences is what the 12-year-old, his public defender work under a system that is called a flat fee
contract rates and he got $162,000 to represent all poor people who came through the courts in that county. in any expense that they had, someone who was an expert, all of them would have to come out of this. >> host: there is no incentive at all. >> guest: keep the docket moving. >> host: the quote was that people are dressed up like lawyers and their standing next to a client, but they are not really advocating it. that seemed to be really what happened with this poor young boy. it was an appeal to the
washington supreme court and has led to some fairly significant reforms. i'm wondering if you have any friends sense -- first maybe you could talk about what this entails. do you have any sense of it's making a difference? >> it is too soon to tell, one of the most interesting things that washington did on the heels of that is to make the lawyers themselves, the public defenders, when they go into court prior to each case, they have to sign something that says they have no more than 150 cases. they, themselves, they have the control as opposed to other states that have tried it a little bit and they have recommended a maximum of 150 felony cases. but often they give it to the chief public defender to say whether the employees are
meeting these mandates. but the control is really what the public defenders. but the hope is they key to the case will double that the public defenders can actually do their jobs. >> host: what happens when they exceed the caseload? will this go to the state to drop the cases? >> that is the question that hasn't really happened yet. but it happened in other places, like it has happened in new orleans where there have been so many cuts to the public defenders office, people are sitting in jail for months and months. one young man had been in jail for 16 months. >> host: is this clarence jones. >> guest: yes.
>> host: i found it sort of shocking there was a sort of forgot about. >> guest: it is shocking. what is interesting about the situation in louisiana and why just write about it is that there is a budget crisis. and this is something being experienced all across the country in the last five years. but with shrinking budgets, you know, one of the places is the public defenders office. so in new orleans what happened was they were forced to lay off one third of the lawyers. so one whole division, conflicts vision. it means if there are two people arrested for robbing a 7-eleven, one gets the public defenders office, but because they could be accusing each other, you need
a separate lawyer. so when no new orleans they had a separate division and they completely got rid of that and the budget cuts. so anyone who came in with multiple arrests like that, they had no attorneys. so they were just sitting in jail for months and months and judges were making please. they were scrambling, threatening to let people out of jail without a trial because this was such a clear violation of their rights. it was a fiasco fischer. >> host: in the same chapter that you called the perfect storm, he told the story of an individual that spent 27 years in jail for a murder he commit. i just found it appalling at how little his public defenders seemed to do to represent him.
they didn't call any witnesses, they did not present a scenario for the murder. they didn't go to the scene of the crime and indeed did not realize that the eyewitness was a schizophrenic. did you talk to the lawyer or do you have any sense of what happened and was that a typical kind of defense? >> i did not talk to that lawyer. but i did look at lots of court documents. that lawyer was also a judge in louisiana in new orleans and very friendly with the judge that he was trying before. this whole case did not call witnesses. they had no opening argument, no closing argument. the murder trial had two defendants and it began and
ended in under two hours. if you look at the transcripts and judge based on the time to read this. greg was sent to prison for 20 years, and he kept saying that he didn't do it and he kept trying to appeal from jail. he tried to educate himself and get access to police records. and he finally got a lawyer to take up his case. they discovered that all of his appeals were going before a judge, the same judge that was actually one of the prosecutors who is basically asked to weigh in on his own prosecutorial
misconduct. so of course greg never got his appeals and never really got into court. he was finally freed thanks to the work of the innocence project. >> host: my understanding is that he had tried one of his initial grounds. it sort of illustrates how hard it is successfully gives a phrase that shouldn't be effective to have this? >> guest: will complicate that
is better basically says it's not enough to prove that your lawyer was ineffective and that you also have to prove that the lawyer was so ineffective that the case would've gone the other way. the challenges of doing that, witnesses have disappeared or forgotten things that evidence doesn't exist anymore. buildings have been burned down, lightning has changed. it's very hard to prove the case would've gone a different way without having a trial on the case. so it's almost impossible to get this rolling. >> host: i wonder what should the role responsibility of the judge being these proceedings. sometimes you talk about certain cronyism in instances where the
judges are the ones that control the appointment. a kind of problems that create? >> when the judges are pointing the public defenders is that the job of the public defender is the reliance of their approval. they are judged on their efficiency often. how much do they get through the docket, how quickly, so they are going to want a public defender that goes along and gets along, that does their bidding. that is a challenge. one public defender was assigned to a courtroom in the same judge. they were always arguing before the same judge. the problem with that is that they were then trading clients in a way. like, okay, my private client, you know, taking this to trial,
i will persuade this individual to have a trial. and so it really made for a very corrupt system down there. >> host: the other thing that struck me was i have heard stories. and i'm sure that you have heard about lawyers as well. and i think about a federal judge in san francisco that sanction over several thousand dollars and that judge made it very clear. and i think the lawyers, if a high standard is expected of them, but sometimes they will rise to the occasion. i just wonder how much more the judges could do to help improve the system.
>> guest: i think there are some judges out there that are very proactive. go back to the new orleans situation. even when all of these defendants were being held pretrial, they started calling in prominent local lawyers, publishers of the newspapers, appointing them to this and they said that you have to do something, and i'm going to have to let them go because this is not a speedy trial. so there are some judges were who are very active to try to make the system work. you know, that's a good thing that draws attention to the crisis. it didn't solve the problem in
new orleans, but it certainly drew some attention and got people focused on this. >> host: my sense from how you describe this. but i'm wondering what you see as the best or the worst that there is or the jurisdictions in terms of providing defense. are there good models out there? and which ones tend to create the worst systems? >> there are good models out there. the federal defender system is pretty good. they are generally viewed as a much better funded. they have access to the experts and investigators. they are adequately staffed, caseloads are manageable. the public defender system is definitely considered the crème de la crème.
that has a more holistic approach. and then there are pockets of other places like bronx defenders and etc., where different places across the country they are trying a more holistic approach where it is not just a lawyer. it is a lawyer that is first of all going to stay with the client from the very beginning all the way to the end of their case. they have the same history social workers on staff and one of the things that they are trying to do is that this person has a problem with a drug addiction problem while he's waiting. let's not make him sit in jail.
let's get him into a drug rehab program and really try to address some of the problems that are bringing that person and coordinate first place. so that is a really interesting approach that is being tried. there is some resistance from public defenders when someone comes in and tries to shift that culture change. i think i can be challenging. that part of that is because they are being asked to make these changes and do this holistic approach without the backup they need. the money to hire this. they end up having to do the social work. but there are really great models out there. they know how to fix this problem. but there just seems to be a lack of political will to do it. >> host: especially now, it is not always realistic.
but what other things can be done? >> guest: one is money so that the caseloads can become more manageable. also there are larger organizational problems that we just talked about, a judge appointed a public defender. the third element is the culture of public defenders offices in general and rethinking what that job means and what solving these problems mean. one of these things is money. but the other two are not. the other thing that i think is interesting about the money question is as budgets get tight
, people that are arrested are not considered the deserving poor. and when you put them on a scale next to whether you can adequately fund is for children, they are going to lose. and that requires some rethinking about what is at stake here. >> host: i think you make the point very strongly. therefore our criminal justice system to work. it needs to be evenly matched. kind of like a game of tennis. you are most likely to get the result of the truth when each side is making a strong argument. i did find it dispiriting when you are writing about the public defenders asking the state supreme court for relief from these cases. in some way then against them.
but we think that they should does have to soldier on. and i'm wondering where prosecutors have come down. i've talked to some people who have said that they think some prosecutors like the system. because when they are overworked and underfunded, it makes it easier for prosecutors to win their cases. you know, where they stand on these issues? >> i think that that seems to be the prevalent attitude for sure. when you get to playing this game of trial check-in. if you only have five trials coming up this year, you can more aggressively pursue this compared to a public defender that's drowning under these cases. there are some prosecutors out there that recognize and are outspoken about the fact the
system is not fair and say that this makes my job harder. if they are constantly delaying things, they want to have the trial and get through and see justice done. so there are people out there that recognize that both sides have to function and be equally matched. to believe that they could all do their jobs better if that were the case. so there is some movement among district attorneys and prosecutors to see this change. >> host: eric holder has been very supportive. >> guest: he has been a champion of this, which is so great. and speaking out in this topic
license to prosecutors to similarly speak out in their jurisdictions. >> host: can you give examples and ways in which prosecutors have greater resources and public defenders? >> guest: yes, the most obvious one is caseload. when i talked about it in washington state, the prosecutor has 36 cases in the public defender has 100 and one. but also it is more subtle than that. they also have access to the police resources that you just don't think about. so they want something investigated, they have the police department at their disposal, which is huge. as well as crime labs to run tests and investigators and experts. which is not insignificant. part of the money game are the
best experts out there. the prosecutor's office has the ability to do that. but they don't have the ability to do that again in this way that makes it very hard for those accused of a crime to get a fair trial. >> i wanted to dig in for this notion of what an appropriate caseloads should be. in some ways it seems almost arbitrary. many thought that it could be 100, and i wonder how we know what the right number is. the missouri public defenders
office is talking about the theory that it would give real data or metrics for case management. but i'm just curious how do you know what is the right number of cases? >> it is hard to tell. it has been a very complicated conversation in terms of trying to figure that out. including something like using the billable hours in order to come up with some standards. but i think that one of the challenges they faced in doing this as they come up with such complicated systems. like it should be 150, and they tried to come up with all kinds of formulas. part of it is arbitrary but it
seems reasonable. you know. it may be too much for the new attorneys that are just starting out. they could maybe handle more as an experienced person. so this can include those that are involving the death penalty. one of the other stories that we tell in the book is about rodney young, who faced the death penalty in georgia. >> guest: yes, rodney young was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's son in a brutal murder in georgia. he actually lived in new jersey. so they went to new jersey and brought him back to georgia for the trial. what is interesting is that in georgia if you are mentally, you
cannot be executed. so his public defenders are trying to argue that he was mentally, which was a pretty good case because he had done special education his entire life and etc. but they ended up losing the case. so broadly is on death row right now. with his public defender who is trying his first death penalty case before a jury, he really felt like the office was completely strapped for money that they were triaging cases and many of them got all of the resources and some have to sit tight and wait. so many travel budgets even the interviewing of the people that they needed to interview or to book those experts weigh in advance. all of that money that you needed to properly do for a
trial, it was just not available according to jay in georgia. he was so dispirited that he ended up quitting, which is another problem. so committed and excited about their work and they burn out. it is just so much work and so on supportive. but you lose some of the best people that way. >> host: we talk about why anyone becomes a public defender. it's very long hours. sometimes it's little a little more, sometimes it's a little less. you compared to what a big law firm makes. it's such a huge disparity. and the work was not valued for
society and what was your sense of the personalities that lead people to become public defenders. >> guest: they were really committed, working long hours. and so that is inadvertently one of the themes in my book. is really that the system is hemorrhaging good lawyers. so that is not insignificant. i think that they go out to a
party. or how can you defend that murder. >> host: the personality trait is this sort of feeling like we are guarding against liberty of overreaching by the government. they can see themselves as this very important defense. >> guest: that is really important to them. they are wonderful spokespeople for that idea. and that is just part of what i try to convey, to really invite people so that they could see
what was at stake. you know, it was interesting to me when i was reporting this. because at first, you know, i'm not a lawyer and i have this six month learning curve or was trying to get oriented. and then i had an epiphany and i was like, you know, this is what it's like from a client's perspective. this is how complicated the legal system is for someone coming in. and i am a well-educated middle-class women. and i have many more resources in terms of accessing information on the internet. and then i started to think, why don't i write this from the client perspective so that i can see that other people can see why a good public defender matters. why this matters. why you need this to get you through this.
>> host: circling back to robin young. you certainly did go through the funding shortfalls. but what wasn't clear was given the evidence and the facts against them, would he have necessarily have gotten a different result? and there was an iq test and the defense gave him the iq test where he actually tested above the iq threshold. so what could his lawyer have done? so based on the evidence presented it was a reasonable outcome.
>> guest: someone not the best at explaining what the range of mental retardation was and what that could mean an even how people could, as they got older, choir basic skills and a bigger vocabulary. in rodney's case, he worked a job. he had an apartment. it was in the basement of his aunt's house. and he was a fairly independent adult. his wife was very routine and i think that if he had had better experts than to explain that to the jury, but they would have stood a better chance of it understanding what he was and that his mental capacity was very limited. then i do believe and i haven't
been able to ask the lawyers this yet, because the case is being appealed. there is also always the question of he did not go on the stand himself. so i was at the trial. >> host: it shows him hunched over not looking at anyone. sort of this large and intimidating looking person. but it did give a sense of the feeling. >> guest: yes, and again, i covered another trial in new jersey. so some of these were just what shirt his lawyers had brought him, which color and these gummy bears that he wanted. they were his main things.
those were the questions that they asked him. he didn't get what was going on in this trial. so it was interesting to follow that case. it was one of the ones as well that i really wanted to have where we followed to follow things as they go along. to see how ordinary justice plays out on a day-to-day level in a courtroom in georgia. >> host: how did you find the story? >> guest: another reporter friend had a conversation with his lawyer and he was like, oh, you should talk to him. other ones are surfing the net,
dropping in on courtrooms, you know, a lot of them were very random and they were not cases that got dressed. there was a local newspaper covering it. in the case of the 12-year-old in washington state, not a single news article about this case as it was going on. >> host: what inspired you to write about? >> guest: i have been writing around the issue in the courts for several years. i have been writing on some justice programs and a little bit about the high incarceration of young black males. i was struck by the fact that everyone associated with this
understands the problem and understand the nature of the problem and in many ways how to solve it. yet it did not get fixed. i was struck by the fact that it wasn't really talked about outside of that. so it was a conversation that had taken place. in states all across the country. but no one had really done anything. people kept trying to solve these problems. it seemed very stalled. so i started thinking about, as i said before, how do you take a conversation outside of the criminal justice system to the general american public and i do think there is interest in fairness and parody and
constitutional rights and etc. better just not aware of the depth of the problems in the courts. >> host: who benefits from the status quo? maybe the prison industry? i mean, who does this work for? >> guest: in some ways you could argue that it doesn't work for anybody. yes, i guess the prisons do get more of. but ultimately that costs taxpayers a lot of money as well. even some basic things that we talk about, like some pretrial programs that are being introduced around the country so that people can get out instead of sitting in jail while they are waiting. that is really important because the people that are languishing
in jail, even if they were found innocent, they lost their jobs. they lost their car because they couldn't make payments. it is hard to know who does this. >> host: they also never got punished, whoever didn't kill that boy. >> guest: which is really the best argument for a public defender. >> host: i'm wondering if you could talk a bit about how this has been part of a wider effort by the defense.
we are people that people can get involved in the things they can do. >> guest: it has been a concerted effort with many different organizations to really use the 50th anniversary of the supreme court decision to focus the lens on this issue and to really push ever form. i see my effort as changing the public conversation so that next time a politician says lock them up, throw away the key, we are not funding public defense. someone questions them or not. there are people working at state bar associations to try to get reforms passed. as well as state supreme courts are working on this issue, everyone is trying to address
this problem in the hope is that this 50th anniversary will draw his attention from the issue and the forms can actually get passed in the system can work as it was originally envisioned. >> host: just because someone doesn't have money to pay for a lawyer, is there something that the family and friends could try to do, to work for them as well as they can? i mean, let's say you have a public defender. what can you try to do to get the best representation possible? >> well, it is tricky because you're usually randomly assigned a public defender. so you don't get a choice within your defender's office of
whether you have the best and brightest wars the worst. you don't have a lot of choices. the families can educate themselves on this issue and there are advocacy groups made up that are starting to speak out. and they are a very powerful voice for reform because they can speak from experience. a lot of times these people are ashamed and they don't want to be the spokesman of this issue. the families are a little bit more outspoken and willing to go to bat and to push for reforms. >> host: what would you like readers to take away from your book? >> guest: i guess i would like them to next time, next time a
politician says lock them up and throw away the key, to call them on it. you know, to really take a good look at this issue and think about what fairness means and what the constitution means in limiting the power of the government. the government's power is limited right now. >> host: thank you very much for being here. the book is "chasing gideon" by karen houppert. >> guest: thank you for having me. >> on the next "washington journal", north carolina's new voter identification law and the supreme court's decision to strike down part of the voting rights act. then lockheed martin vice
president talks about the joint strike fighter. at an estimated cost of $1.5 trillion. "washington journal" is live on c-span everyday at 7:00 a.m. eastern. on wednesday, the six democratic candidates in the mayor's race in the city of new york, we will renew the debate here on c-span. >> papeete's book club returns with this town, to parties and a funeral, plus plenty of valet parking. read the book and engage in our facebook page. look for daily bookclub posts to
get the conversation going on, including discussion questions, links to interviews with the author, and video with the author from our booktv archives. >> joining us now is michael cater. he founded publishers lunch. what is that? >> it is an e-mail newsletter that tells everyone what is going on every day. we have databases and tools that all the people here used to find out the information that they need, report deals, get business done. >> what is your background? >> lunchtime is where people really exchange information with each other. we tried to find a great metaphor for information exchange and this is the thing that stuck out.
i came over to the publishers lunch and people automatically knew what they were getting before they even silos in the newsletter. i had been in there my whole life. i had a small company back in the 80s when i was a baby. it was a great industry and i'm happy to have found a way to continue to be a part of it, even as time changes and their needs change. >> how have you been for the book industry? >> well, there were a couple of hits. one was hunger games for younger readers which carried over into an more adult literature. fifty shades of gray rock this into bookstores. digital books have become very popular and have given them access to books that they may
not have had previously. so it is holding steady in comparison to what was a good year for people. it appears to be alive and well. >> i'm holding in my hand a book that doesn't exist. this put together by publishers. what is this? >> it is prepublication experts that are coming out this fall and winter. it is meant to be something for readers everywhere and replicates the experience of readers everywhere, which is that they are getting samples of new books and picking out free copies of new books that are not available to new readers. we have surveyed the publishers
and collected this from a lot of the books that we feel are most interesting. now everyone can get this experience and see the books that people may be talking about months from now when they come out on the market. >> or is it available right now? >> it is available for everyone who is watching this on every major platform. you can download it for free. >> asking you about the countdown. >> he was originally the best selling author which speculated what would happen if humans went away and how quickly would the plant returned to its natural state. the countdown is sort of the world with us. so what happens when we have people competing for precious resources. how will it work and personally and how will it work and can the
planet hold us. it looks of those issues and those that have different reasons for having big families because israel is the desert. so he has traveled around the world and he has talked to people and found out how these issues played out to all kinds of different places. >> yes, this is the first of a series. she bares her life experience, but is free from being surveyed by the people that choose to work for. because it's all an official context. ..
to be one of the best recognized air warded books of the year this year we have another six or so day beau fiction. so the best thing is it has a lot of everything. it has regular fiction, young adult works and the nonfibs we have discovered. one thing that might be fun for television viewers. there's a man named henry who
was johnny carson's long time attorney who was in the shadows for literally decades. carson called him his best friend, he challenges in his book. yet he has stories of insight to a man who everybody knew so well that doesn't know at all. >> michael is group called publishers lunch. the website is publishersmarketplace. booktv on c-span2. book's after words featuring abc news veterans martin clancy and tim o'brien. "murder at the supreme court." interviewed by kimberly tignor. this is just under an hour. >> host: well, i want to talk to you both. i find the topic matter is incredibly important. it's important dialogue that is
going on in the u.s. and, you know, my first question i want to ask you what compelled do you write the book. the particular experience, if you have a journalist or something that gave you -- >> guest: we found with so many cases supreme court everybody focuses on the legal issues, as they should. but the stories behind the legal issues are compelling. they're fascinating. and that is particularly true with death penalty cases. after the court's decision. it is just a fascinating story. >> guest: the more we dug in behind the decisions. the book takes you from the scene of the crime right to the supreme court courtroom. in many cases. and shows you the repurr cushions. >> guest: we are story tellers. >> host: absolutely. >> guest: we have stories to tell. i think the most important thing of writing a book is a something
to say. here we had landmark decisions. tough decisions ten of the fifteen cases we focus on split the supreme court 5-4, then stories surrounding the decisions. that read like novels, we think. >> host: and i completely agree. i think that one of the quotes i found that i esspecially really liked was from former congressman tim coyne. he said, it's a little hard to believe you have a non-fiction book you can't put down. and i thought that it was especially appropriate. i feel like this book is different from a lot of non-fiction works that i read. in that it really does read like a thriller. it really does -- it takes these legal discussion and inject humanity side to it. and -- >> guest: we like to think in addition to telling stories it's a great book. it tells you how the court works. there's so few good book that
explains the process. how did they go about it. what do they say to one another? we see the cases that split the court 5-4. what do they really think? do the personal feelings get in it. it's a book about capital punishment but how the court operates. >> guest: when you dig to the notes in the library of congress, the memoranda, the notes back and forth between justices that are available, and a lot of stuff is available. you at least -- i'm not a lawyer. whatever you guys do. i was just fascinated by the human side of it. i mean, in many cases justices have -- you can see the justices have reservation about capital punishment. >> guest: there was a case, a story about willie francis. mar -- you did a lot of search. >> it looked like a dry supreme court decision. when you dig back, you discover
it has all kinds of ingredients. the year is 1946, louisiana has a electricity chair. they would take it from parish to parish, county to county. they would displace the electricity share at noon and invite school kids by the classes to make a field trip and look at the electricity chair. don't do bad stuff. the chair is waiting. they would take the chair inside, hook it up to a generator on a truck, and invite the victim or mandate the victim to the chair. in this particular case, 17-year-old black named willie francis who killed a pharmacist during a robbery was put in the chair, strapped in, the electrodes attached to the ankle and head. as one witness told us, the executioner said, goodbye willie. willie didn't go anywhere. >> guest: nothing happened. >> guest: the chair malfunction. he had minor burns but they took him back to the cell.
that became a celebrated supreme court case. was it double jeopardy to put the man in the electricity chair again? the court decided it was accidental you could put willie francis in the chair again. but justice frank who voted for the execution. he felt constitutionally mandated to do it was distushed he went find the fellow justices backs, literally, to a friend in louisiana, very powerful in the louisiana state bar and urged him to do everything he could to stop what he felt would be a travesty. the attorney, nicholas, did attempt stop the execution. he could not. willie francis died a year later. the same herself waiting for him a year before took his body away. >> guest: one of the things we find they will split 5-4 on the capital punishment whether the person should be executed. often those who vote in favor have great misgivings. not about the law but the wisdom of going through with the death
penalty. and throughout the history in the united states supreme court from the 1960s on that we found, justice -- uphold the death sentence even though they personally felt it was wrong. they felt in a democracy this is a decision that the people must make and the state legislator must make. it's not for us to to decide. >> host: i thought that just to kind of take a look at the unique and interesting kind of research you did. i thought that the willie francis case was interesting. just in that you went and actually went to the gas chamber and went see the chair. the electricity chair. i want to hear about what the experience was like, you know. >> guest: no inmate sat in as many electricity chairs a with have. >> guest: it's a fact. >> guest: yeah. it reminds you of what capital punishment is about. in this room, life is being taken away by the state.
you start thinking about a little bit more deeply. there's so many questions about capital punishment. a difficult one is whether to have it. once you decided to have it as a united states has, how to operates. who should be executed or what are the rules? those questions turn out to be even more difficult. we can't say that our book will provide you the answr. i think we agree and helps you understand the question. >> guest: i think there are -- i call them knee-jerk theory about capital punishment. one is, it's terrible. it's an abomination we shouldn't have it. and the other is, that it is an justice. it's perfectly proper. if we shake either of those knee-jerk theory. if we cause people to think,ly decide this book is a success. >> host: and i think that's an excellent point. i think this has been a huge and wonderful contribution to the discussion. and i wanted to just kind of the touch on what you said.
so the united states is one of the industrialized democratic countries that still practices capital punishment. >> guest: really the only one, we think. there's is no western industrial democracy that practices the death penalty. >> host: do you believe it to be relate to the challenges we face in reforming gun law and gun violence? >>that's a tough question. i sometimes think, i don't know the answer to that question. but i sometimes think that our culture is a little different when it comes to crime and punishment than most other western democrat -- democracies guns are more readily available here than any other western democracy and countries like united u.n. they are not there. we center one of the highest murder rates. do we do? we have capital punishment and find in those states that have the death penalty, they also have the highest crime rates.
primarily the south. in the states that don't have capital punishment like the new york, primarily, they have lowest crime rates. there is a cause and effect there? i don't know. maybe. what comes the first the chicken or the egg? they d they have the death penalty in the south because they have high murder rates or the other way around? and, you know, the an might depend who you ask. opponent of capital punishment will look at one way. and proponent look at it another way. what we find, though, is in this debate when you look at the crimes and you look at the criminals who commit the crimes as we do in the book, you find a great deal of sympathy for the death penalty. you say -- it's easy to support the death penalty when you look at the crimes in the book, and at the criminals. then when you look at the system, you have to have some pause. laos powell throughout his
career supported the death penalty. later concluded it was a mistake and doesn't work the way it's supposed to. >> host: the point about you make about sympathy and relating to the stories that are behind the cases, i thought that resonated with the daryl atkins case. and i know that as part of your research you did go and interview with his mother. i just thought -- i wanted to know not so much about the content but just about that experience was like. >> guest: that's a fascinating case. atkins v. virginia, the supreme court held you cannot execute someone by state law is mentally impaired. retart -- retarded. whatever that level is. it's a very tough case because it -- most killers are not the brightest lights in the house. and so it is dimly -- a little on the dim side. is that should they be spared for that? who should make that call? should be the united states supreme court or should be the
jury that sees the defendant in court? in this case, this is another one of those cases that is truly it's a fascinating story and legally it's very important. this was a cold-blooded murder. it was -- stabbed some guy outside a convenience store. forced him in the car and made him to drive to a bank and atm machine and took out $100 and drove to the wilderness and shot him dead and left him there. justice scalia sounded like a prosecutor. shot him once, twice, three times. the supreme court ruled he couldn't be executed if he was mentally retarded. how do you define mental retardation? three jurors -- juries said he qualifies for capital punishment under virginia law. then they send back to the virginia supreme court sent to a jury to determine if he was
retarded. and before they -- before the jury could reach a verdict before it was impaneled they found there was some prosecutorial misconduct in the trial years earlier. the judge finally threw up the hands and said life without parole. the inmate who brought the case and lead to the landmark supreme court decision was not effected bit decision at all. just an amazing story. and the twists and turns in that case. by the way, we have something called the qr code. the martin is a little more steeky -- techy with the driving force. we think it's a unique feature of the book that will make it more appealing to the readers. >> guest: what is helpful is that the technology -- you take a smartphone or tablet and literally wave it over the code in the book and get the video of the atkins case or many
of the other cases we dovered. >> guest: one of the cases we covered is whether you can have the death penalty for juveniles somebody under 18. this case involved a 17-year-old who seemed to be on a -- and took an elderly woman on a bridge and pushed her off. she drowned. and picked him up after the high school the next day, and within hours gave a tearful confession to police. we describe this in the book, if you put your phone over the code, you can see the confession yourself. >> host: i thought the qr codes were a neat way to just kind of -- it almost sucks the -- or takes the reader to even more in to the book. and i was wondering, you know, what was the -- what was the thought behind that? go you think it's a direction, you know, books are going to be headed? especially non-fiction. it really creates a great opportunity just really, you know, grab your reader. >> yeah.
>> guest: martin explained it. you want to put it in the book? [laughter] i didn't understand what it was. when i saw it, it blew me away. >> guest: i can't predict which way the publishing industry it going go. lord knows where the publishing industry is getting these days. for me, i mean, not only do you see, for example, if you pull up the i have owe -- video of darrell. you see not only the confession in the police station. the police take him to the bridge so they show the police where he threw the woman off the bridge. it brings you literally to a scene of a crime and has an emotional impact we think we are pretty good writers. no way can give you that impact. >> guest: you don't see it on the evening news or newspapers. made-for-television movies will try to duplicate it. this is the real thing. i think, you know, if you get involved -- first of all, we value a stake
in this. the fact you might not have the answer is perfectly understandable. because it is a tough question. you don't have to have the answer unless you are sitting on some court. but if you look at these crimes, i think you have to -- it helps you understand what it's all about. we talk to judges and lawyers and talked to policy fors about capital punishment. sometimes i think lost in the debate might be the view of the undertakers who are there. who pick up the body. they see firsthand what happened, and that's in the book. >> guest: we have met some of these animals. we have met some people, in my opinion, are beyond redemption. people are angry, and if these kind of animals are in the dock, i can understand the feeling and the need, the desire for retribution. >> guest: one of the thing we also found. everybody talks about the debate
over whether the death penalty deters. at love that also depends who you can. ask. there's no convincing evidence that it dpe territorial-types. the supreme court sort of bought that. whether it deters, we don't know. we find that the real support for capital punishment now comes not only in the name of deterrence but in the name of retribution. some call it revenge, some call it justice. it's perfectly understandable. i have spoken to loved ones left behind when someone is killed. in a way the person who killed get off the easiest. he's gone. the family -- it's painful for them for the rest of their lives. they never forget. some of the relatives i have spoken with crusaded against capital punishment. i said what about the person who killed your father. will you make a pitch to that person for clemency to the court to spare that death from the
death penalty? they said i can't do that. perfectly understandable to me. >> host: and so it's -- the both of you are passionate about this. and, you know, i was reading that you actually were saying if you had thought about -- writing a book like this twenty years ago it was only a matter of time. i was curious what was going on then that started the conversation. >> guest: it's all amtrak's fault. it was the metro liner. tim and i were going to new york to edit a piece we shot for 20/20 for juvenile crime. the more we talked and the more we thought about it. somewhere between delaware and new york city, we decided we had to write a book. trouble is we were both world class procrastinators. we had at love other things on our mind. it took us a long time to get there. >> guest: as martin said we are world class procrastinators. i insist we are not quitters.
sometimes the distinction is hard to make. we put it off for a long time. we are semi retired. i find maybe i'm doing more work than when i was at abc news only i'm not getting paid as well. it's worth or energy. besides, i don't want to run in to you in the rest home we should have done it or it was your fault. or you say it to me. we thought it was a worthwhile project. most importantly it's an important issue and we had something to say. we had stories to tell and legal principles to explain. we worked, i think, very well on that. martin is a story teller from way back when 20/20 i have been doing legal analysis for twenty plus year. it worked out very well. >> host: i'm curious as to where you see, you know, how does this book kind of fit to the larger discussion, you know, with groups like the innocence project and, you know, the
recent exoneration of -- due to dna evidence. where do you think this book kind of fits? >> guest: kim, that's a very good question. which our book and recent events brings to light. because the prospect of executing the innocent has always been a concern. always been an an argument against capital punishment. what we're finding is it's much more real and more large than we actually thought it was. >> guest: columbia researchers found a case in texas it's almost certainly in the mistake in execution. opponents of capital punishment are often challenged, you know, find us a real case. find us a truly innocent person who was executed. it's probably -- the case in texas is probably it. a case of eye witness testimony gone wrong. it it's a case of people being in the wrong place at the wrong time. when you look at the man who was
executed and the man who was now presumed guilty of the crime side by side in photographs so you a hard time telling the difference. our book doesn't take aned a have -- advocacy position. it's not a book for or against capital punishment. the goal of the book is to show you the question. we come to the conclusion how the system doesn't work, but we're not here to tell you whether or not capital punishment is right or wrong. >> guest: young the risk of executing the innocent has drawn strange reaction from some of the justices. see, look, be good -- it might help your cause if you point one. we can assume -- looking at the statistics and even then no one ever said the system is perfect. are we going to do away with all punishment because mistakes happen? no. it's a mechanism of given to a human frailty and human error. there will be mistakes. i said, well, except there's a
mistake in the capital case there's no remedy. death is different. and there are some justice who say the process has to be the same. it really isn't different. you have the basic disagreement between justices who are very concerned about the risk of error, and other justices say it doesn't affect the outcome. >> host: so i'm going to take a step back. i know, we kind of touched about this earlier. i thought it was an interesting -- you have similar and yet kind of different backgrounds. i was wanting to talk little bit about the process of coauthorship. i want to hear a little bit how it worked. >> guest: it was mostly -- [inaudible] [laughter] we were sitting in the same room. at the same table. [laughter] >> guest: in point of fact, it was a delight. for 90% of the time. [laughter] we --
the most -- >> guest: the other 10%. it was 100%. -- no. >> the most wide i -- widely used phrase is equal volume and equal occurrences was you can't say that! i think having a friendship for forty years to build on helped us survive. >> guest: but also what i think we found is what we did is diffy up most the chapter. some we did together. there was an abiding respect for one another's work. i would say, martin, i would make this change or that change. he would have the final say. and the same with my chapters. he would make the recommendation to me. there were a -- i must say when i read the book, i felt all the changes we made were beneficial. he helped my copy a great deal. i would like to think i helped out your copy. >> guest: you did. >> guest: we did have some disagreement. some were reasonably strong. at the end of the day we reached a solution that we both really
thought was best. and the disagreements we had yeeltded much more -- yielded more light than heat. >> host: and so i wanted to offer i thought it was interesting here your title choice. because, you know, it reads, you know, "murder in the supreme court" it reads like a thriller. it kind of -- i wonder if you did it purposefully. >> guest: actually, we were looking far theme. the publisher said we had to have a theme. doing about capital punishment, that's been done before. what we want to do is tell the stories and explain the law. and from time to time, we in that twenty-year period where we couldn't quite agree on what we're doing. someday we'll do it. we got together and said the theme would be murder in the supreme court. how about the cases, the crimes that made the law? and all of these crimes i think crimes of breaking the law. these are the crimes that the
supreme court used to make the law, to shape the law, define the law on capital punishment. when we agreed on that we said, you know, that's it. and pun lister changed it to legal crime and landmark cases. the fact we agreed on it. we have to admit it was an improvement. >> guest: i don't know. [laughter] but i think it works. coming up with that theme the unifying theme was the hardest part for us. we made several false starts over the years, we must admit. >> guest: there was another book called "murder in the supreme court" that is a novel about a murder in the supreme court or in the supreme court. and we were concerned about that, well, you know, we are not going let it get in the way. it's "murder at the supreme court "and how they view punishment for it. it's appropriate. i think it was a good title and capture what the book is about. these are all lethal crimes.
what the court said about them produced landmark decisions. >> host: and, you know, i have to say i think it looks neat about the title and the way the book is done with the qr code and the way the story are told is that i think it kind of opens it up to folks who are not necessarily non-fiction readers. >> guest: yeah. >> host: i was cure -- curious did you know it was going to be the outcome? >> guest: i think from the get go my thought was always having the difficulty with abc news where i had a terrific story, they never said no to me. we could go out and interview the people who brought the case which was an amazing liberty and treat for me. i would come back, i have two stories for you. i have the decision from the supreme court you want, but i have a fabulous human-interest story behind the decision you want too. they say, well, all right we'll give you another five seconds. it was very frustrating to have the great stories i couldn't
tell as i wanted to. we're going to do a book about capital punishment. we could say a little more about the decision. not just what it was. but what went in to it. and the story behind it. martin is a story teller. that resonated with him. he likes to tell stories. we worked together on death penalty stories at 20/20 which was a treat for me to go out there with you and oklahoma and work with death penalty for juveniles an important case. the opportunity to explain issues in that kind of a detail and a tell the story behind the case was such a treat. you -- a luxury on 20/20 did all the time. i didn't. it was a real treat for me. >> >> guest: it wasn't another case of a few seconds. it was another five minutes. >> guest: you have no idea what it meant to me. it was an out-of-body experience. >> host: i think we're going a break now. thank you so much.
on wednesday on c-span2, booktv in prime time. at 8:00 p.m. civil war historian. "a chain of thunder." "radiance of tomorrow." at 9:20 an interview with lee. "and the mountains echoed." booktv in prime time on c-span2. erica jong what is on the summer reading list? mega wolitzer's book "the interestings" i i read a lot of books on meditation and i'm reading a book called "buddhist way of meditation." i meditate. i've done yoga for thirty
years. i'm always catching up on that part of my reading. meg's book is the next thing i'm going read. it's called "the interestings." it starts with a group of teenagers in camp and takes them forward to the 40s and 50s. let us know what you're reading this summer. tweet us@booktv. post it on our facebook page, or send us an e-mail at @firstname.lastname@example.org. the last few years, the left decided that the political debate is worthless. they're not going debate politics. ..
live the first sunday of every month at noon eastern on book tv on c-span2. >> now we return to afterwards with martin clancy in tim o'brien. murder at the supreme court. >> i wanted to take a moment to get to the real meat of the book and talk about some of the cases that released to that to you both speak to one of the truly landmark cases of anyone who practices death penalty law and
a lot of people that don't are familiar with the case of gravers is georgia. the supreme court threw out the death penalty in 1972 finding was implemented in an arbitrary and capricious manner and that was like getting struck by lightning. the states rewrote the death penalty laws. another case came up in 1976 called greg versus georgia where they had the opportunity to see what the states had done, let georgia had done and, perhaps, reinstate capital punishment. a huge case because opponents thought the earlier decision was just the first. they could use the case to rid the country of capital punishment once and for all. as supporters said, we can get huntington tobacco lawyer if the georgia law is upheld. a hitchhiker picked up a couple of good time charlies. a case of beer. had to go to the restroom. it stopped again when they came back. he had again and shot them both
at point blank range system of the money in a car. the question was could he get a death sentence. the supreme court let that have georgia had rewritten its law. required a bifurcated trial which means you have one part of the trial to determine if the person is guilty and a second trial which is much more open ended to the german the character of this person and what was so bad about the crime that would justify the death sentence because the georgia law was fine. other states scramble to meet what was done to duplicate. it was solace in that crib will be the first person to be executed. in a way he was, but not the way anybody thought. that before the execution he escaped from prison with four other inmates said to be the worst killers in georgia history. the crimes they committed were too gruesome even for our book. they escaped up to north
carolina. some of them were members of motorcycle gang. they get together with old friends. and he may be unfortunate mistake of slighting the girlfriend of one of the bikers, picked him up, threw into the ground, and stopped him to death. his body was found floating in a nearby like a couple of days later. the escape which was so daring got him another 24 hours, and that's about it. >> guest: died executed in a different way than a law had intended. you cannot make this stuff of. >> guest: the stories, we find them fascinating. if you're a journalist or writer , you want to have been stories to tell. >> guest: we had one with the issue for the supreme court was whether you could forcibly medicate a paranoid
schizophrenic inmate to make him well enough to be executed. >> guest: the court has already decided, somebody is crazy, you can't put them to death. somebody becomes insane after conviction you can't put them to death. here we have a case of somebody you became or is at least diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic after being condemned. the state of georgia wanted to medicate him so they could a kid him. >> guest: they wanted to medicate him said that he would become say enough to execute. that became a big supreme court issued. the court looked at it, accepted the case because it was an interesting question. then for some reason it did not decide the question. scented down to the lower courts for re-examination. i talked to the trial judge. he said, i've been scratching my head. they're reheard the case.
eventually the louisiana supreme court made a decision that you could not medicate to execute. the supreme court did not make the decision in that case. >> guest: one of the things we uncovered when working in this case was that the inmate, the murderer was arrested here in washington d.c. he had come to town and was stocking supreme court justice sandra o'connor. i mean, that was -- she still participated. you would remember it because unfortunately things to happen with supreme court justice. martin was saying, his death sentence was later set aside by the louisiana supreme court. now we year is seen as a whole wing to himself in the georgia state penitentiary and and go up because he spins the wee hours of the morning wondering the house -- wandering the halls shouting.
>> kicks be to a louisiana case. my mistake. >> guest: another one of those cases. another one of those issues. very, very tough. the supreme court says, what do you do with an inmate on death row or not it is not want to take his medication? the court says well, if you can show that it is medically necessary you can forcibly medicate them. what doctor will say, yes, it's medically necessary seeking kill them? another one of the issues, i used to lie awake at night thinking about this. it's so troubled me, not because i cared which was the right way to go, but these are puzzles. in this case the question was, can you use victim impact statements. deciding whether this person who has been convicted committed a crime, should the jury here about the impact on loved ones left behind?
there are three cases. at think they're the three most or bookcases in the book. initially the coor's said you can't. if he do, if someone had -- their relatives are articulate and speaking about the law says the perpetrator might get a death sentence. the happens to be someone who does not have reticulate relatives, loved ones left behind, someone no one really knew, then the perpetrator might escape. that should have no bearing. should be based solely on the crime in the criminal. i would lie awake at night trying to figure out the right answer because it seems relevant in the supreme court divided 5- 5-4, writing the majority opinion saying that is not relevant. look at the crime and criminal. paul left the court. another case came up. the court granted an expedited consideration. a flip that decision and r.p.
washington d.c. supreme court are be which is a couple of years, actually. and it was a personnel change that did it. >> guest: the consequences are fascinating. if you die with their relatives is be free of, that's a different situation. i mean, is the sentence going to be dependent upon the survival of victims' relatives and their eloquence? scary stuff. >> guest: i still think that's a tough call. i don't know what the right answer is. fortunately all we have to worry about is presenting the question properly. we don't have to have the answers. when you look at these cases you understand the real difference between having an opinion which we're all entitled to and take a responsibility for, and making a decision. john roberts when he was nominated to be chief justice address that. you don't have to make a decision. your lives are on the line. he sometimes look at these cases a little differently. >> host: that is an interesting point because i know
that if they're is a large part of this book about you just getting the impression, i sense that you have an opinion. someone weak throughout the book, do you think it had any sort of impact? >> guest: we tried very hard not to tip our hand. >> guest: will be found as we're talking about these programs and criminals. the book had a pro death penalty kilts. that trouble us. >> guest: at least we did not want to present any conclusions. it wanted to be hands out, here are the facts. the problem is in started because of all the brutality of these crimes. the crimes that it to the u.s. supreme court are not your robberies or domestic homicides. these are for the most part crimes against innocent people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, committed by people who are very violent, very screwed people.
and the more we presented the details of the crimes a more viscerally we felt readers will feel. okay. the death penalty is just fine. we take no moral position about the death penalty. but what we concluded and concluded we have to conclude for the sake of our readers and to be honest we have to present our reservations with the way the system works. whether or not he should have the death penalty, the fact that the system does not seem to work in any equitable way. for more than 200 years the brightest, most caring, most dedicated minds and our society in state legislatures, on the bench, on the supreme court, in the community had tried to figure out a way to fairly administered the death penalty, to do it in an equitable manner so that we would all be comfortable. >> the supreme court threw out capital punishment because as we said earlier, it was being implemented in a want to come
arbitrary, capricious manner. forty years later to us in many better despite all the fine-tuning of the court has done. not so much the race of the perpetrator, but the race of the victim. we find the poverty, nearly all of the people on death row had one of three things in common, abject poverty, victims of child abuse to a child abuse, law no education. you have to ask yourself, that is not an excuse, not the defense, but to some extent might we be executing them because of that sense of their parents? it gives you some pause. another problem is that they are all broke. they have no money, and they don't have good lawyers. sometimes the quality of legal representation is superb, but in too many of them it is absurd. i mean, people are sentenced to die now because they committed the crime, but because they have the worst lawyers. and we see that over and over again.
these arbitrary factors figure in. they should have no bearing at all, but they do have a profound bearing. >> guest: clinton does these. put to death nine people. the title to the book, i great title, 88 men, two women. he said, i never executed a rich person. >> guest: the question is still out there. the radically if you could do it in a rational way and if you could do it in such a manner that it really does deter, that it really does, but did anything else, sir society's demands for retribution, its interest in retribution, should you still have? welcome it is not brain surgery. the facts are out there, and everyone should be looking at it to make their own decision on the morality of the death penalty. we offer no opinion on battle. only as a practical matter it does not seem to work the way anybody had hoped.
>> host: well, i know that this discussion is an involving discussion. i was curious, doing your research, was there any case that kind of stuck out to you the thing might have gone a little differently if it had been done and try today? >> guest: you know, i have been trying to predict what the supreme court will do for many years. my closest friends. sometimes that dinners on the. getting the right answer, you think you have to study the case. if you want to get the right answer you look at the court. and i sometimes think of the court as one organism with a multiple personality disorder. how will it go this way or the way. there really doesn't. one of the things we have found is that the court has been equally divided on this issue for many years. if this going to be any change there is going to be as a result of the change in the composition
of the court, a few more justices who oppose capital punishment. he could find the majority of the court, not today, not tomorrow, but some time down the road say we have had a. you do find that no state is adopting a fresh. a number of states slowly are moving away from it. you're also finding that juries have become less prone to return that sentences. a number of reasons for that. when you have capital punishment , the public does not want it. when you don't have that the public cries out for it. also, very important supreme court decision which we reference in the book. if there was an alternative sense of life in prison with no parole, jurors must be advised of that. if they're not you have to do it
all over again. surgeries' know they have that choice. death or life without parole. a personal never see the light of day again at some of the prison wall. we find that they're more inclined to vote for life in prison. one of the strange things we know, there are now about 15,000 homicides a year. that's down. several hundred death sentences year. we have been averaging 40 to 50 death sentences over executions. it seems out of whack. so many death sentences, so many homicides. so few executions. when greg verses the merger was argued, is capricious only in the sense that many killers deserving of the death penalty don't get it. don't get executed with a shared. as their reason. maybe it is. but get it this way, picard and
you pick the wrong card. your going to die. well, nobody would go along with that. as bizarre. but as a practical matter, that's the way this seems to play out, no way of knowing who is going to be given a death sentence or whether the sentence will actually be carried out. except you do know that if the victim is black or of the victim is white or the victim is -- the perpetrator is pork, does not have any money, more likely. factors that should not play into an all, but they do. >> guest: the feature of the core and the proposition is one factor, but what is happening in the states is interesting. we both live within interesting microcosm of the national debate. for two legislative sessions in 2007 and 2009. efforts pushed by the governor to repeal the death sentence -- the death penalty in maryland.
that effort did not succeed until just two months ago. the public opinion about the death penalty is interestingly enough in favor. but most of the people who support the death penalty also feel that it does not deter crimes. so it's -- things are changing at the state level. >> guest: one of the worst crimes in the book from one of the victim impact statements, one of the worst crimes a cold-blooded murder in 3d. on death row for over 30 years. most of the people on death row die of old age, like the rest of us. >> guest: the matter of closure. if a relative gets murdered and someone gets a death sentence, you can be sure there will be 15 to 25 years before there's
closure. >> guest: one of the last ones we are told by the victim's daughter. see you next year. they feel that the family feels there was closure. real closure in our view might be more meaningful if he had a life sentence. they don't go away. congress tried to short circuit those appeals. creating other concerns that maybe someone will be executed is innocent or research for violated drop. we don't want that either. one of the things we're finding is this country does have a very strong commitment to what is called due process of law. sometimes a simple fair play,
but it's more than that. we want there to be strong rules to protect all this. but those rules in place we have to ask ourselves, maybe our society being what it is we have made it impossible to implement capital punishment and a meaningful way, to be meaningful it must be swift and certain. is not going to be swift, it seemed all with all the protections we now have in place. do we do away with the protectionist? we submit that is not the answer >> host: that is an interesting question because the point that you made earlier about how it's much more difficult or less likely for juries to necessarily go throughout the death penalty. i was curious if you thought that, why that was. kind of doctor of the history of actually executions. that became a bit disturbing. it took it indoors. it is an interesting evolution. just think about where we are
today, do you think that the quality of the evidence that is available, is that the reason why? >> guest: are learning more and more about evidence. now the only question. forensic guidelines that led people in the wrong direction. eyewitness testimony is less and less reliable. there as a law we're learning. >> guest: the evolution of dna evidence. it gives jurors greater pause and more uncertainty about imposing a death sentence unless they're absolutely certain. maryland passed a law saying you either have to have dna evidence establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt whether crime must of been committed on video
tape or something equally compelling for anybody to be given a death sentence. the concern is great. in illinois have the death penalty for many years and the governor said, you know, researched by the project and northwestern law students shows mistakes are made left and right at the jurors know about that. unless sisterly beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond beyond a reasonable doubt. return a death sentence which is one reason why he dulces many. >> host: the disparate impact it's having, especially lettuce been going on in maryland, an interesting point. i just wanted to go into that little bit. >> guest: the flip side of maryland and illinois would be texas. there is no inclination their that they want to do away with
capital punishment. not running very far. so i mean there are pockets the really cry out for capital punishment, and i know a thing that's going to change. >> guest: georgia is another. the manufacturers of the traditional chemical cartels have withdrawn permission for those to be used and execution and unavailable. the state of georgia is in a quandary because the limited supply just expired. the expiration made on the test tubes for their lethal injections' make it impossible for them to inject them into anybody for any reason. now they have the state legislature that just passed a law which imposed secrecy and
the fact that compounding pharmacies might be hired to put people -- with chemicals yet to be used in executions. capital punishment going undercover and no way that i think it's pretty scary. for. >> guest: human rights organization in atlanta. trying very hard to say among other things that the inmates no matter how guilty then reappear have adequate representation. but also to make sure that these cases are exposed and that cameras are allowed in the courts in georgia to see what's going on. i think a lot of people would be surprised. does not work out as we think. >> host: just to talk on that
point as to when adequate representation like insuring that that actually takes place, at what point do you find in your research absolutely essential that this take place? >> guest: it's 50 years ago this month that the supreme court ruled in gideon versus rain like that state courts to not charge of felony and should be entitled. we find in many parts of the country what they call adequate work effective assistance council, assistance of counsel is nothing more than having a lawyer there he says, here is the deal, 25 years or 50 years. he should plead guilty. that happens, and people are pleading guilty to crimes because that is the best deals going to get. i'm going to have to go to trial you think might be convicted. that does happen. i do think that judges go to
greater lengths to assure effective counsel and death penalty cases, but still we have cases were lawyers fail to show up or show a drop in double murder cases. the lawyers make mistakes. clearly it would have prevented the death sentence. is too late. we just recently had a case before the supreme court where the inmate got new lawyers, but the new lawyers did not get the information needed about the case and it was overlooked. we actually have some saying, well, that's too bad. he still should be executed. the system is broken. wherever you are on capital punishment, saying this a long time ago, wherever you are on the moral question, you have to first get to the practical question of can we do it in a meaningful, rational way. >> host: of want to thank you
it. what an incredible person. really am looking forward to reading about his life and becoming more involved in making sure people know the story. >> early on we have the 16-acre piece of land. we have to put something on it. maybe not. everyone in the say. receiving public input to generate a master plan. larry silverstein. police said the office space.
the port authority. they really believed in the importance of the commercial space. they believe they had to rebuild all the commercial space. >> the controversy on the rebuilding. >> author of "divided we fall: the story of an african-american community that ended the era of school desegregation," sarah garland. she is interviewed by guest host marc lamont hill. >> host: tell me why did you decide to write this book? your first book was about gangs.
this was somewhat of a shift. >> guest: get into these things around segregation. that sort of scared me to think about. i was best when i was in second grade to the school. it was in the inner city. it was something that thought about actively. the case went to the supreme court. i was very interested in following it. >> talk to me about the personal piece of this. when you were bused into the
inner city did you have a particularly stance on that question of desegregation? >> if you don't think about it, looking back, we're looking back at the reaction of kids in the 70's, they started busting a lot of the kids saying i like it they did not think about it. as i got older i started to sort of think about not only going to schools and being surrounded by poverty that i did not see in my neighborhood in the suburbs. that was definitely i opening, but at the same time with in the schools i attended, there was tracking. you had the regular program, honors, and then advanced. those were cut very closely. and so you start to think about it. i remember even and high-school,
one of the on the class is i took where was mixed between the track, global studies course. and there was an african american student in the classes said, she tried to test into the advanced program and could not given. obviously very intelligent, well spoken. that stuck with me. i still remember that. i was in tenth grade. and reflecting on that you had desegregation. the same time within the schools you had segregation. sending the message to kids when you have class is full of kids that are supposed to be the announcement kids. so my classmates, that had some and it makes you think about how this is worked out. i have always been really interested in this idea of foul we do diversity well.
>> the dominant narrative, american legal and educational history of the past 50 years, 60 years now has been the brown decision, this idea that if we could desegregate, if we could force the hand of schools in the policymakers, we could have a more diverse pool, have greater education and not just equality but equity. obviously you're but bush's backing is that there if someone . the backdrop, the entire time. talk to me about what brown and for educational equality access in the country. >> guest: it's hard question. this amazing feat that we accomplished. we rollback segregation. then you look at what happened afterwards and we see how incredibly difficult it was, you
know, divisive in some ways, but also the you had this very incremental progress up the that very frustrating to people. and so it's seen as a great victory, but also it's important . doing this research to look back and see what we did not accomplish that. and so lacking in desegregation and hell it was finally implemented 20 years later after brown actually was handed down. the way these programs are set of, then maintain privilege a lot of ways in class privilege so that poor kids and like it said to be bused from wartime. part of that was logistics', but part of it was maintaining the status quo so that he did not have -- so i think that the decision is a difficult decision. one of the most interesting books have never read, what
brown v. board of education should have said. if they had done it differently palin might have changed things. it's really interesting. probably but not a fad the unanimous decision which was important, but it was very interesting to look at the counterfactual and think about what a victory of was but also what it did not accomplish. >> host: is a difficult to write a book that pushes back against such a celebrated public policy? really one of the things of the great victories of the 20th-century for america. did you have any anxiety? the story of people who pushed back. >> guest: zero, yes. this is not the book that i expected to write. i went into it thinking that -- and that think especially the integration was a good thing. and it did. brought people together. it made me think differently
about the world. a lot of my classmates. and one of the things i side often, during the heyday of desegregation and busing in the 70's and 80's we actually found the achievement gap shrinking faster than ever. so that's a big deal. so there was accomplishments. >> host: the desegregation. i mean, the debt was so huge. access to books and resources and things. you know, the ones that argue that the actual desegregation process was incidental. >> guest: i think that's really hard to separate out. people who researched, how it affects kids, it's kind of hard to say. is it because kids are learning
from each other or is it because if you are black child in a classroom with the majority white middle-class you might have more resources at that school than you would otherwise. one of the people i interviewed in the book, green follows white. the desegregation at the time. so i think that's the difficult and complicated question. and there's also a lot of other things going not the time. it's not just desegregation. about it was very important. i was surprised that i ended up writing this book. >> host: the you open up the book. the first section is about these letters the reid and the founded compelling. the story of the screw her dream of going.
this is a listing of the school could have more than 42%. as a result she was being put on a wait list that might ultimately derail her dream. that is compelling. how much of that came up? telling cases. >> i think that those stories i will make it really interesting. al emotionally connected people felt with the school, the central high-school. but how i saw their future in that school, and not just -- i mean, part of it was there one to be a lawyer. no other school in the city had a lot program. it was also very emotional familial connection. her dad had gone there to my mom and gone there. it was the black school for
decades and decades. as a people had a very emotional connection to a. it was a very good school. at the time in the 80's eventually they put in an advanced program. so you had the elite of the black community going to the school. so you know, the people that i talked to in the book, there are two things always going on, concern about educational quality but also about our schools. this is our community. it's harry important that we have some say and some entitlement. >> host: as people get those letters, the engineering of the 1950's may have been an intended, harmful, house in to people in the town realize the power would need to make some sort of adjustment, policy pushed back?
>> guest: there is a lot of that. the desegregation negotiated over the years, lots of fights, this ongoing constant conflict in some ways. and so i think for some people, the act is especially, a profile activists who were really behind this fight. they have gone to central priest desegregation. fell very connected to the school. so for them they have been watching this. very concerned that desegregation was going to close central. so many other black schools have been closed as a result. >> host: closed as opposed to some of the chefs and the demographic. >> guest: it happened a lot. happened all over the south. you have more schools and a lot of places that you needed because he's put the population.
a black high-school and the white high-school. then they have to desegregate. a close the black school. part of that, i think in louisville they're trying to convince people not to flee to this suburbs and private schools. to do that they had to convince them to keep ticket in the public-school. in their thinking a thing part of it was that there not going to want to send their kids downtown they have been under resurfaced and falling apart. in the mind it made sense to close them because we're not been putting on research for a long time. so partly just to make you work, logistical. how do we maintained -- how do we keep the white middle class at the? >> host: there were less
concerned. in fact that might have been totally okay with them. the stability of the community. part of it was the tradition of the school itself. >> guest: absolutely. it tradition of -- a tradition of black empowerment, i think. we built this cool ourselves. we did this large and without a lot of help from the school district, without a lot of research. fight for every penny. and so i think a lot of the people that i talk to sell the way that it happened gorgeous the attitude of desegregation, black people basically failed any help every they need to have their kids sit next to a white kid. i heard that a lot. this sense of we are losing.
>> host: from the community or outside? >> guest: from the activists, the african-american activists. we should not have to sit a black town next to a white child for them to learn. and i think an understandable frustration that we are being seen as deficient. our culture and community of not being recognized as did as. and so i think that was one of the problems with the way desegregation was thought of or the way it was implemented. there was an hour we are going to share resources. it's a we're going to help you. >> host: absolutely. any danger in that approach? seems to me that that could return as back to the 1954 mind-set. we're going to hold on. to so we can say we have our own stuff. nationalist kind of posture.
respect to what the outcome as. >> guest: i agree. and i was telling the story of people whose stories really have not been told. they perspectives have not been out there. i think it's a really difficult question to say -- it's a question that we are dealing with now. the close the school down because of its failing because it does not have enough students the test scores are low. or do we try and keep it together even though the things are happening for the sake of the community? i think it's really difficult balance and i don't actually have the answer. >> none of those two. the first thing, amazingly written. you chronicle the perspective. do i let the perspective. you also help us track down the
activists to engage in the push back. oftentimes i think the victory is celebrated by people who don't really get a sense. what steps they took to get there. talk to me a little bit about that. these activists who ultimately advance a legal argument shifting the time for the entire country. how did they do it? >> guest: well, there are really a bunch of very interesting and eclectic people. a lot of fun to spend time with. they came at it from very different places. a lot of them had been friends. one of them was this very gregarious football coach. he had been writing editorials constantly for the newspaper. so there were at the edges and activism. and kind of knew what they were doing when it came to being community activists. another had been a really part
of the black nationalist movement in the 70's and was involved in that. so they had grown up from that. they were not of the civil rights movement. of that time frame, but also sort of on the outside and critiquing it but learning from it. they knew what they were doing. one of my favorite people are ever about, just a wonderful lady got very involved in protesting the first iraqi war in the 90's. she was very involved in that session get pulled then. she wanted to say. so they knew what they were doing, but there were also very alone. there were a minority in the community in a lot of ways. it was an anachronism to be african-american, activist fighting against desegregation.
which makes it interesting which is why i wrote a book about them. >> host: the most compelling part. i can almost imagine how they can have an argument how do you as a black person in the black community convince black people that the best way to make schools better. >> guest: the thing is, they were behind the first federal case. and it did not end up going on to the supreme court because they thought they won their fight, central high school. that's what they cared about. fear of what i was doing the research it turns out that in a lot of places you have fights where you had the naacp on one side fighting to maintain desegregation programs. and then you would have a black school board member or a group
of black parents on the other side saying, you know what, let's to rid of this program. we want are never schools back. so there were lonely, whatever not necessarily completely alone . >> host: these powerbrokers. and i guess wonder. and maybe you can answer this. your subjects. i also want to hold on to this because they think it makes policy sense. they have an ideological commitment to this approach. multiculturalism is its own thing. or holding on to a tradition. the vengeful, the black organizations.
>> it's interesting. the board of the naacp. so they issues besides cool. and a think that it became, you did not have a huge uprising when there were bringing this case. he did not have a lot of black leaders in the community. you differently had a significant leader. you don't have a big uprising against them. there were people in the communities. this is not on our way. it is an interesting question. i don't know. >> host: again, i don't think there is an answer. i often wonder. i became more compelled to question the reasons why these
organizations might be in certain areas. whole lot to public policies which have the symbolic value. >> in some ways there is a need for schools to be more diverse than they are. maybe not an academic need, but i do think that there is this idea to my kids are educated together, maybe our country will be less divided than it is politically, economically. maybe you will understand one another better. there's a reason for it not just the traditional aspect. >> host: our resource question. >> guest: yes. have you give money into poor minority neighborhoods. one fast way to do that is an
america you have a gentrifying prepare and spirited. and i think that is with the education is for and really trying to do. desegregation, it didn't work, but it's mostly over in most places. how do we deal with that? out of a deal with the fact that in most cities and their areas it's not even a possibility. is not even feasible anymore. >> host: popular opinion based on the legal terms of we have seen now? >> guest: i think legally you can't really -- it's very hard to do forced busing. you know, right about the school choice movement. i think that has gone into the consciousness people feel like they deserve the right to have a choice of schools. so i think turning around and
saying, okay coming employment a busing program and to have to send your kid here, a huge outcry. and even in lieu of delegates a controlled choice. it's a choice pro gram, but the choices are managed. so i think that has undermined the opportunity to do this. just in terms of where people live. we have the growth of cities. and in some ways some schools are becoming -- the suburbs, you have never is the becoming more diverse. in the inner cities you have the white middle-class moving back again. d.c. and new york. there are some opportunities, but forced busing is not going to be it. >> host: and the the you mentioned that. this sort of telegraphic landscape that has shifted so much that it almost makes no sense to even rely on the kind
of policy moves of the 50's and 60's. urban areas. very differently than it did. i mean brooklyn or harlem look so different now. so part of what i wonder. i'm still interested in the parents. if the parents are taking account of those kinds of shifts in a policy shift among demographic -- demographic shifts. as a make the demands for new approaches to education reform, are they factoring all of that in or are they laughing? >> guest: i think for parents, they care about where they go. you know, i hear people talk about parent involvement in schools. parents are just really focused on ticket to read what is going to happen to them, getting into the very best will it possibly
can. some parents have more savvy than others in figuring out which school that is in some people value different things about schools. you know, being close to my house may be very important. the teachers and nice to me in care about my kids, that kind of thing. some people way different things. you know, and all of the people i talk to them appearance, that was their motivation. there were not thinking about -- a vin christa a tucker case to the supreme court camera motivation was she wonders and to get into the school. i don't think that's how she started out. and i think for the most part that was the same with the other parents. we weren't thinking big picture. very small picture. my five year-old.
>> host: big picture. >> guest: all of those buried in the think that is what is so difficult about school reform. the end these clashes. so it's really hard to think about the larger society. the get of the larger society when it's your child. and i think in my personal case my parents sent me down to the school. my mother had spent time in the school while went to elementary school before busing. she was familiar with the school and did not have a good experience. she was there is a social worker. it was a rough school. high poverty area. and so when she was sitting in that school i imagine it must've been difficult, but at the same time it had been -- they had really, i guess, worked in the school to make it palatable for middle-class families.
they had this to advanced program. that's what may indicate from my classmates and i together. and i was -- file in together for two years. a state for four because there was a good program. i think a parent's consent were doing good things because we're taking private busing in sending our kids, but the same time it's a really good program. my elementary school has an excellent. >> host: the desegregation. the program a solid. >> guest: the revell, i mean, there are not very many school districts around the country. i wrote about a study recently that like to have you districts, 200 something and still doing desegregation. but still doing it. just reelected the school board that was supportive of doing desegregation.
they can't just use race because of the supreme court decision. so there you have seen in come and parental education and other factors and race. >> host: proxy schools. and in particular. >> guest: yet. yeah. absolutely. you look at -- the lawyer who was involved in bringing this case gun so angry and they threw out the new plan. they sort of your to areas of the city that there were going to draw from and bus back-and-forth between. the black areas and the white areas of the city. it's very clear. at think part of the frustration with the program was that you have busting going on and integration going on poor black students and upper-middle-class. but then you also had black students living in someone
middle working-class neighborhood is being sent to very poor white neighborhoods with something that is maybe more of a factor. >> mixing piece of very high preschools. >> it creates its own problem. >> this is not necessarily solve . tickets important for those kids to know one another. but it does not necessarily solve the resource problem. >> host: which speaks to other broader issues that we have to take seriously. really just broader social policies. we're going to take a quick break. >> guest: okay. >> on wednesday on c-span2, book tv and prime time. at 8:00 p.m. civil war historian on his book.
talk to me about the reasons why. >> guest: the main reason that they are so frustrated is that the way it is implemented and ended up discovering what people wanted for their schools. so you had thousands that were fired that were implemented. and obviously, like i said earlier, it was really to make way for bringing different blackett together and not during white parents away. >> host: okay, let's talk a little bit. your argument that is that what you do to find for blackheads, but why parents don't want their children to have black teachers that they are kind of scared away. >> guest: i think that that could happen.
so you also had school closures and i do think that is part of thinking. and there are also implications where like a white school was going to be close. so they kept that school intact, even though normally it wasn't an issue and so on. so they had a lot of clout and political savvy and you have heard about black principles being fired and administrators. so you have this fallout that people didn't participate. >> host: are more teachers than you need, obviously we have the
seniority system or something. and in the 50s and 60s and 70s, they would probably anticipate this. was this not foreseeable? worked was this a bill of goods? >> guest: at least for the naacp lawyers, this does needed to happen, we just needed to get rid of this dual system especially when you have different salary scales for brecher black-and-white teachers, which is the case before to segregation. were you actually had no integration between faculties under had this. i mean, you have to get rid of that. so i think that -- i have no idea if people foresaw this. i would imagine that we actually
had this ambivalence. i do think that some black people saw that this is potentially going to hurt my school where i am going to lose my job if we have to integrate. because they are not what swami teaching their kids at the white school. and there was an interesting poll that was done. some of them that were done and not very the reliable, but they are interesting in the fact that they showed and i do think that it was an important decision to get rid of the segregated school system. either there is this that was
done that shows that you have the civil right activist actively tracking this and saying, look at how many black teachers we have, how many we have now and how many we used to have. so people are pointing it out at the time. >> host: a subtext of your book, it is that black activist and advocacy groups are constantly changing this at the expense of real policy victories. it seems to me that this was foreseeable. that all sides were there. it was such an important symbolic victory. it is such a symbolic victory that all of these other sort of residual effects are the collateral damage that is done as he said.
because we ended legal segregation. would that be a fair analysis? >> i mean, it is hard for me to say. i think every time you're looking at these issues, there is feasibility. there is the dream of what could be and then there is what is practical and what is politically possible. what is politically possible in the 50s, you know, it also had a lot of ripple effects that were a big deal. so i don't know if those calculations are made but we will at least get this symbolic victory. i think that it is important as
a factor. >> host: not that it wasn't important, but it's important. >> guest: it didn't work like it was supposed to work. i think that is what happened. there was this opening up of the doors for black children and white children to be educated together. they could share resources and we can look at the resources and compare them to huge disparities. >> there is another part of this, the collateral effects in terms of teachers and human capital and those sorts of things. in your book you talk about how
people were pushing back not just because teachers were filed in because of all that stuff, not because programs worth lost. but the communities were fragmented from the start. >> that is one of the big issues that people talk about. i don't have experience in the neighborhood school, so i don't really get that. i love my elementary school. but that was very important to people and they really cherish that. >> host: what is a neighborhood school have in regards to that perspective. >> guest: looking at the history of southern black education, there is a deeper pride in a lot of the schools that were built because it started out that these were, the black education
started off in people's homes and churches. so this wasn't something that white society said here is your school. it is something that the black community built for themselves and make out some health in a lot of cases. there's a lot of pride in that, i think. so this is more than just this on the street. we built this. this is our pride. pride of our community. it is symbolic. >> host: i'm going to even to this argument. >> guest: but i think that symbolically it matters. i think that it matters because it is about identity and who you are. you know, this is also the tension that we will catalog. in the book shows like in my
american or african american and how do you deal with assimilation and success in the larger society and still maintaining my history and identity. that is really what people have, it's the heart of a lot of people in some activists who got involved with this. it is how much of that and what do i have to give up in order to succeed in the larger society. so i think there is symbolism there and also these deeper questions that i think are so important. >> they hold onto this collective community and its somewhat dense even as a community of people and the upper middle class people,
having this with the sort of blue-collar class all in the same neighborhood. that is a broader argument of how the black community was fragmented. you had a white fragment this way and then you had a black fragment the other way. and it was like this. >> guest: that is the argument. that they are crumbling in the housing, a lot of people wouldn't want to live there either.
>> host: the best thing is charter school or home school options. so we are taking these people and letting them go to school elsewhere. >> guest: yes, we are very careful about the argument there is. there was this detrimental fallout and the answer is not to have lifted segregate children laws and jim crow. i say that is not the answer. but i think that there were federal policies that made it attractive to people and it sort of took apart his vibrant city neighborhoods and it's like,
hey, let's move to the suburbs all of a sudden. and all of a sudden it was part of their federal policy choices to make this easy for the people who have the money to get out. so i think it wasn't just the segregation. i think there were a lot of other things that went on to facilitate what went wrong. just as we segregation will didn't help, it also didn't cause all of these problems that were a factor. >> host: i think he really talks about this complexity in a good way. you mentioned that while this was rooted in activism, in some
ways it was a related to the schools and the nation and really kind of it handled in this way. >> guest: i got out of their hands. so they found a very interesting guy who's very enthusiastic. he sought saw it as a great opportunity and he was very compelled by their story. they were taken to the supreme court and it was a big deal in some way. it was also just kind of a book into something that was already happening. so even when that decision came down, most school districts were an official and.
>> host: but it did allow for the conversation of the role that it played in public policy. but it still matters now. where we are still wrestling with this question, what role should they play. codifying it is a kind of trend that can't be the only factor. >> guest: yes, that's right. >> guest: well, in the least in recent with with global youth market rates and poverty levels and there is a big idea is using
the economic status and having not be a basis of the cage k-12 level and it was an affirmative action which tends to bash opponents say that it cleans the best and brightest. >> host: particularly with a bunch of poor black kids. is that right? >> yes. and that was the complaint. i think that the people who say that race doesn't matter, they faded it can be a proxy for
making sure that they also have racial diversity. and they say that the experience of race is not as -- it is more than just about income. so for black americans, for example, the wealth gap is much harder to measure. but you may have differentiations and income, but wealth is a different matter. >> guest: it is harder to capture. those experiences are really caught up in history and a history of discrimination and segregation in the continuing institution in this country but
those things are not captured by just that. the. >> host: i understand national segment. but we don't want to lose this legacy. but was there a vision within the community that mirrors the argument that we need to understand that there is something good in a school about having blacks and whites in the same school. >> guest: is interesting because the two families i'm focused on,
within the mother and daughter, in each case they had different opinions about this. and then one gross case you have this horrible experiments when she was white working class, high poverty neighborhoods kids spitting at her, awful, awful things. so she was very nervous about sending her kids. but they had a good experience. so she kind of saw that this is important, my kids have had opportunities that they would not have had if they had gone to the school across the street, which was still struggling as a school. and so when we talked about it, she really said that you know,
these opportunities were important and especially to have these networks that were a part of the school system. and many want people to do that for them. that being said, her daughter handled it differently. so she had a really good experience and she ended up going to school actually near my neighborhood at different times. she had good experiences. she also felt that these racial quotas were inherently wrong and it didn't matter. she should be able to go and have the same experiences down the street from our house. the. >> host: there's no policymaker that would disagree with that. both say they want all to be
equal. >> guest: but that is easier said than done. >> host: that's where want to push you. because it offers such a powerful critique. talking about how it is an oversimplified analysis. because people are going to pick up this book and they are going to have very strong responses. one response said that too much government is bad. that government intervention is the problem. >> guest: really? >> host: but it's reasonable to interpret your book that way. the libertarians a libertarian says that this is what can happen. they will try to make us equal and as a result we end up hurting the very people that we are trying to help. this is what happens when government gets in the way.
controversies in regards to this. part of it is that you have an anti-charter school argument that people don't like. why don't you come in and work on this that we have versus opening a new school. >> host: that the most talented students will be taken off the top and go to the other school is leading the traditional public schools to have what is left? >> guest: i think so. yes. one interesting school was in atlanta. it was a planned community were not only was the school -- it was becoming more diverse. but they had created a school that was in the mixed income
privatized. would it be fair to interpret your book is an argument for why we need this? >> guest: well, i don't think so. hardly what i think, and i think that it is not a bad thing. i think that parents wanted and kids and parents know what is best for their kids and one of the issues with school choice is this issue of equity. if we care about equity and their advocates out there that don't have their parents who navigate the choices. and i think that you have found that when there are hundreds of choices of schools that you can go to. define the largest comprehensive high schools are just regular high schools. a lot of those have struggled
because they tend to get the kids who don't make an active choice. so just like the segregation. there are problems that come with this. problems that need to be dealt with and thought about it maybe we can think, okay, this work, this didn't work. and really think about those, not necessarily to critique a school choice, but as a way to make them better and more thoughtful. released to try to avoid repeating some of the same mistakes postmarks are so you still have not solved the education promise of the world. [laughter] >> guest: i still have not. thank you so much. >> what are you reading this
summer? booktv would like to know. >> i would like to have two pleasure books on hand. one is the interesting is by meg wolff sir. they are striving to be exceptional people. and the protagonists as she gets older starts questioning this idea of balance or a lack thereof between elevation and happiness. it is pretty pertinent to washington dc. in terms of my brain food, i will be reading the unwinding by george packer. i think it will be interesting to see his storytelling and different vignettes and narratives. including a story about ohio, which is near where i am from.
including increasing polarization, lack of trust in government, and how that has progressed. so it's a pretty pessimistic theme, but i do think it will be interesting as we tie it all together. >> let us know what you're reading this summer. this on a facebook page or send us an e-mail at booktv at c-span.org. >> on wednesday, the good jobs coalition hosted a discussion about civil rights and economic inequality. it is part of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. what coverage at 6:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span2. >> coming up next, women in elected office. then booktv in prime time featuring interviews. first karen hubbard on the law providing legal aid to defendants and then martin
clancy and tim o'brien discuss death penalty cases before the court. and later sarah garland discusses the segregation of the kentucky town in the book "divided we fail." >> and why you dialogues hosted this form. this is 90 minutes. >> and everyone hear me okay? i'm the executive director and this is the fourth in our series of democracy next forms that we have been pleased to do. i am so happy to welcome you here to the global site for this very important discussion on the impact of womes